PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — The Pittsburgh Pirates ended the West Coast road trip on a high note, beating Arizona, 2-1, and finishing with back-to-back wins in the desert.
Second baseman Neil Walker hit an RBI single to right field in the eighth, driving in shortstop Clint Barmes for a 2-1 lead and the eventual win.
It was another low-scoring game. All of the Pirates (5-7) games have been that way, as neither Pittsburgh nor its opponents have tallied more than five runs yet this season.
“One-run games heighten the focus for me,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said, according to the team’s official website. It’s good playing those games early, because it lets guys know what kind of club they are. I love one-run games that we win.”
The Pirates actually trailed, 1-0, going into the seventh inning when third baseman Pedro Alvarez hit his second home run of the season to tie the game. It just his second hit of the year — both home runs.
“That was a sight for sore eyes,” Hurdle said of Alvarez’s homer, “although we were just looking for a run, we didn’t care off whose bat.”
Walker followed in the eighth inning with a broken bat single that found its way to right field. After hitting into two double-plays in his first two at-bats, Walker said hitting the game-winning RBI felt a little sweeter.
“There’s nothing better than … Well, a lot of things are better, but when you break your bat and drive in a run to win a game, that is sweet retribution for a lot of balls that you hit hard and are caught,” he said.
James McDonald started for the Pirates, pitching four innings of one-run, three-hit baseball. He was pulled to start the fifth for recent call-up Brad Lincoln.
Lincoln earned the win with three innings of scoreless work.
“It was definitely a long night for me (traveling from Triple-A Indianapolis to Arizona), but that’s part of the job,” Lincoln said. “I came in with my mind on battling to try to keep the team in the game. We know what’s going on in the game, and when the phone rang, we came in and backed (McDonald) up. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.”
Juan Cruz earned his second save in as many games in replace of Joel Hanrahan, who is out with hamstring tightness.